Thursday, March 27, 2014

Oil & Gas Create Jobs

T. Boone Pickens discusses the economic impact of American oil and gas production.
Today, the oil and gas business is the most dynamic industry in America. Unfortunately, they are still targeted by Washington, DC, as villains and increasingly blamed for everything from profiteering to earthquakes. If you want to blame that industry for anything, blame it for creating too many jobs.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Fuel Cells Are Not The Hydrocarbon Option You Might Think

Currently, the only way to get sufficient quantities of hydrogen for fuel cells for commercial purposes is to use methane gas. The process combines methane gas and steam at a certain pressure and temperature range to create pure hydrogen gas and carbon dioxide. The tax credit for fuel cells will expire in December 2016. Electricity produced by Fuel Cell Energy is about $2,250/kilowatt. The price needs to come down at least 20% before it becomes comparable to that from Capstone Turbine.
Fuel cells are not an alternative energy solution -- it still uses the same natural gas that many other power-generating options use today. Unless there are some significant changes to carbon emissions regulations or a continuation of fuel cell tax credits, it will be very difficult for fuel cells to compete on the open market in any power generation market. Some niche markets will exist such as Plug Power's battery replacements for material handling equipment such as forklifts and potentially in electric hybrid delivery trucks, but fuel cells will struggle to gain market share as long as the costs are still high.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Pickens At Surrey Regional Economic Summit

On March 24, 2014.

Last month, I had the opportunity to travel to Canada and discuss our energy policy here in the U.S. The truth is I ended up talking about America's lack of an energy plan. That's been the story out of Washington since President Nixon first promised to get us off foreign oil in 1973.

Since the Arab Oil Embargo of 1973, the importance of getting America the energy plan it deserves has dramatically increased. But instead of real leadership in Washington, we have different departments pointed in different directions: State is reviewing the Keystone XL Pipeline; Energy is overseeing LNG exports; and Commerce is in charge of crude oil exports. Does that sound like any sort of plan?

Key decisions are made by leaders, not by committees. No wonder we're importing nearly twice as much OPEC oil as we did 40 years ago.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Pickens: "We can't liberate Europe from its dependence until we've freed ourselves first"

T. Boone Pickens says the U.S. will not have the infrastructure to export natural gas until 2016. He says the Keystone pipeline should be completed.
"We're nuts not to take it," he said. "I can't believe that. Six years you've had a Christmas present on the front porch."

Friday, March 7, 2014

Building Your Light-Duty Natural Gas Fleet - Free Webinar

Sign up here for this free webinar being offered by Westport.

The webinar will be March 26, Wednesday, from 10 AM to 11 AM (Pacific Time).

This webinar will be led by Westport's Mark Aubry, Vice President of Sales & Marketing, who will outline the considerations to take, plans to make, and resources available when a fleet thinks about switching its light duty vehicles to natural gas.

Learn from the leaders as AAA Oklahoma's Fleet Manager Dana Storey – whose fleet is expected to save $400,000 annually by shifting to natural gas – discusses their best practices and lessons learned.

You'll learn about:
  • Identifying your natural gas vehicle needs
  • Determining the right light-duty vehicle option and availability
  • Estimating your savings and payback
  • Understanding available incentives
  • Finding additional resources
  • The experience and best practices of AAA Oklahoma

Natural Gas Vehicle Market Whitepaper 2013/14

A whitepaper created in
conjunction with the 3rd Natural Gas Vehicle USA Conference & Exhibition
(PDF, 7.1MB). Contents include...
  • NGV USA Market Overview: Comprehensive analysis of the North American NGV Market
  • Government Policies: How they will impact the NGV market over the next 5 years
  • Converting to Natural Gas: Key considerations to address when converting your fleet to NGVs
  • Infrastructure Development: How to successfully plan and build NGV infrastructure

Monday, March 3, 2014

Modest Decline In Registration Of New DIesels

Diesel engines accounted for 77.9% of commercial trucks registered in 2013. This is down from 81% in 2012. While most of that drop was due to increased sales of gasoline and flex fuel vehicles, the number of newly registered commercial trucks powered by CNG increased by 5.8%. There were 4,330 factory installed CNG engines during 2013. The complete report from IHS Automotive is available here.

Metric System Being Forced Onto Natural Gas Vehicle Fuels Only

What other roadblocks can we put in the way of clean air, domestic fuel all at a lower cost per GGE (gasoline gallon equivalent)?
The Metric System Being Forced on NGV Consumers?
March 3, 2014

Utilization of natural gas as a motor fuel has seen a massive increase over the past five years. This is due to stable and affordable pricing due to production of shale gas paired with high petroleum prices and increasing emission regulations. As a result, new networks of natural gas vehicle (NGV) refueling stations are being established.

In 1994, the National Conference on Weights and Measures (NCWM) established the gasoline gallon equivalent (GGE) as the official unit of sale for compressed natural gas (CNG). The GGE is consumer friendly because it represents an amount of CNG which has the same energy content as a gallon of gasoline. Therefore, if your car will travel 20 miles on a gallon of gasoline it will also travel 20 miles on a GGE of CNG. The gallon equivalent standard puts natural gas into a unit which is familiar to the consumer and allows for an easy cost comparison between natural gas and traditional motor fuels.

In the past two to three years, an increasing number of long-haul trucking companies have begun transitioning to liquefied natural gas (LNG) trucks. To accommodate this transition, Cummins-Westport has begun producing a 12 liter heavy duty LNG engine in Jamestown, NY and Clean Energy, Blu LNG and Shell are building nationwide LNG refueling infrastructure.

Because LNG only displaces diesel, it is sold by the diesel gallon equivalent (DGE). In 2013, the Clean Vehicles Education Foundation (CVEF) in conjunction with the NGV industry submitted a request to NCWM to adopt a standard definition of a DGE. It was thought that this approach would be embraced by NCWM since they established the gallon equivalent concept twenty years earlier.

On January 19, 2014 the National Conference on Weights and Measures (NCWM) dropped a bomb shell on the industry by announcing a recommendation to not only deny the DGE proposal but also to repeal the GGE standard and force the metric system on consumers purchasing natural gas motor fuel. Under this proposal, consumers would have to buy natural gas at the pump by the kilogram which would be discriminatory because gasoline and diesel are not sold in metric units. Additionally, it would also be unnecessary because natural gas is currently sold in gallon equivalents, a standard which has been embraced by consumers and industry stakeholders.

The industry is rallying to fight this proposal because if implemented it would create a formidable barrier to NGV adoption by creating chaos and confusion in fuel sales. Furthermore, it would create a catastrophic cost to natural gas station operators as most dispensers, at a cost of $70,000 a piece, would have to be replaced. The NCWM's NGV Steering Committee is working to come up with language which is acceptable to both industry and weights and measures officials. This group's final recommendation will be announced the week of March 10th and will then be voted on by two other committees: Specifications and Tolerances and Laws and Regulations. However, even if the Steering Committee's recommendation is favorable, this process must be closely monitored since the final vote on how natural gas may be legally sold in the U.S. will take place during NCWM's annual meeting the week of July 14th in Detroit, Michigan.

It is imperative that NGV consumers and industry stakeholders make their support for gallon equivalent units known not only to the NCWM but also to their local state Department of Weights and Measures.

Key NCWM officials which comments should be addressed:

John Gaccione, Chairman
NCWM Board of Directors
1135 M Street, Suite 110

Lincoln, Nebraska 68508

Raymond Johnson, Chairman
Laws and Regulations Committee
1135 M Street, Suite 110

Lincoln, Nebraska 68508

Brett Gurney, Chairman
Specifications and Tolerances Committee
1135 M Street, Suite 110

Lincoln, Nebraska 68508

To convert price/liter to price/gallon the consumer would multiply the liter price by 3.78541. Going in the other direction, converting from price/gallon to price/liter the gallon price would by multiplied by 0.26417217685799. There's an iPhone app for that for 99¢ or a free one for Android. Or the NCWM could treat all vehicle fuels fairly by using the same units for all.

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Clean Energy Distributes A Renewable Natural Gas Vehicle Fuel

It's called Redeem and it's made from waste streams, like landfills. It's 90% cleaner than diesel fuel. "Redeem is the lowest carbon footprint fuel commercially available and the only affordable renewable fuel for heavy duty trucks."

It's made by capturing methane from landfills or farms. That's cleaned up and becomes "biomethane" which is distributed via the natural gas pipelines that already exist. The cost at the pump can be a dollar or more cheaper than diesel. Currently it's sold at the same price as natural gas.

Clean Energy has a biomethane production facility in Dallas that can produce 60,000 gasoline-gallons-equivalent per day. They have another facility in Canton, Michigan, and are building one in Millington, Tennessee. Each of those will be able to produce 20,000 GGEs per day of biomethane.